The NoIndex Metatag Debate

Matt Cutts has just put out a posting on how search engines handle the "noindex" metatag. He makes some interesting observations about the results as follows: Google doesn’t show the page in any way Ask doesn’t show the page in any way MSN shows a url reference and Cached link, but no snippet. Clicking the cached link doesn’t return anything. Yahoo! shows a url reference and Cached link, but no snippet. Clicking on the cached link returns the cached page. Matt goes on to note that it would be ... Read More >

The Cost of Duplicate Content

Let's talk about the cost of duplicate content. At first blush, it seems like a relatively minor issue. In principle, a search engine wants to include only one copy of a page in its index. So if you have multiple pages with the same content, the search engine picks only one. This means one copy of your content is ignored. So far it does not sound too bad, does it? However, there are other less obvious consequences to duplicate content. For example, it can't be good that crawlers some to your site ... Read More >

Danny Sullivan’s Contributions to SEO

Leave it to Danny Sullivan. While the SEO world is abuzz with the news of his leaving Search Engine Watch (SEW), and Search Engine Strategies (SES) as well, Danny focuses on the issue of losing Pluto as a planet. As someone who has been at 6 or so SES shows, I can tell you that this is typical of Danny's character. SEW and SES may have led the way in popularizing SEO, but Danny played a key role in humanizing it. He has brought humor, humility, and dignity to our profession, and I know I am not alone ... Read More >

Social Media Optimization

Rohit Bhargava of Influential Marketing started an excellent thread of blog posts with his post titled: 5 Rules of Social Media Optimization. In it, he starts us off with a list of rules for engaging the social web community and building traffic in the process. This initial post has since been enhanced by others, resulting in a list of 16 rules so far. The additional contributors include: Jeremiah Owyang contributed Rules 6 and 7. Cameron Olthuis contributed Rules 8 through 11. Loren Baker ... Read More >

Directory Links

Recently I came across a post about some of the best Directories at the AvivaDirectory web site. This posting lists directories as organized by "Page Strength", using a tool developed for this purpose by SEOMoz. The posting also includes information on the cost for submission to the directory. Anyone familiar with STC knows that we recommend that you do not buy links. So are we recommending that you pay to submit to directories? Yes, we are. Why? Because there is a big difference. Getting your site ... Read More >

Buying Older Sites and Domains

Greg Boser of Web Guerilla made an interesting post about buying older sites and domains. In his post he shows an example of a domain amishfurniturecrafts.com that resolves to the same IP address as gokartsusa.com. The result is that the site ranks highly for keywords like "Amish furniture", "Amish gokarts", and "mini bike furniture". As a side effect, this can also overtly hurt the rankings of the phrases that the site originally ranked for. Why? While we don't have the data to prove it (we did not ... Read More >

New Google Patent Review

There is a New Google Patent that has surfaced. As always, it makes for fascinating reading. It makes reference to editorial and automated detection of favored and non-favored sources, and methods for ranking sites based on this. One of the key phrases in the document has Google improving search results "by providing a mechanism that enhances the ranking of search results by integrating editorial opinion". Fundamentally, this is no surprise at all. We have been through a couple of major generations ... Read More >

SEO and the Social Web

The social web is about relationships and trust. Hell, at this point, the entire web is about relationships and trust. Gone are the days of trickery, and the day of the charlatans is fading fast. It's so critical to your business on the web that you have the right mind set. How am I going to earn the customer's business? What am I going to do to get them to come back to me over and over again? What am I going to do to get them to recommend me to their friends? In some ways, it sounds an awful lot ... Read More >

Robots.txt and Robots Metatags

Telling a search engine to not index a page sounds relatively easy. According to the specs, all you need to do is implement the NOINDEX parameter in your Robots Metatag. Sounds like you're all set. But you might not be. Why? It turns out that if you have also used your Robots.txt file to tell Google to not crawl the pages you have "NOINDEX"ed that Google will ignore the metatags. This is because in Google's algorithms Robots.txt takes precedence over the Robots metatag. Translation: the Robots ... Read More >

Affiliate Programs and Duplicate Content

Not too long ago I was working on a site that had a pretty active affiliate program. A very strange thing happened - One of the affiliates unintentionally hijacked the search results of the source site. Let me illustrate what I mean with an example. The site used to come up very highly in Google for a particular term, let's call is "discount blue widgets". The page that Google was listing was "http://www.yourdomain.com". One day I went back to Google and looked at the current rankings for "discount ... Read More >